Born a Health Freak
As far back as I can remember, I have wanted to be healthy. At the age of 4 years, my doctor diagnosed me as anemic and told my Mother to feed me spinach and liver. At that time, in the deep, country hills of Alabama where I grew up, almost nobody ate spinach. It didn’t grow well here due to high temperatures and if it hadn’t been for the cartoon character, “Popeye”, it would have seemed like science fiction. My Mother bought Del Monte Canned Spinich and I learned to eat it, gagging after each bite until I didn’t. I had occasionally eaten liver but again, I didn’t like it. I ate it anyway and my anemia cleared up. I seemed to have been born with a desire to be healthy. I had been sick a lot as a young child and when I figured out that I could do something to possibly prevent sickness, I felt like there was no choice. I mean, why would we choose sickness, right?
Although I had always wanted to be healthy, I also wanted chocolate, and as I grew up, rich desserts and all manner of “good food” called my name. I fell into the living to eat mentality more than once and ballooned to a size 22. Still, the absolute knowledge that this was within my control, would always pull me back before I developed any significant health problems. We have a responsibility to ourselves and those who we love and care for, to be the best that we can be. Even Hippocrates stated that “The function of protecting and developing health must rank even above that of restoring it when it is impaired.” In other words, it’s better to get and stay healthy than to get sick and then try to fix it. At 63, I lift heavy, work full-time as a nurse and care for a special needs family member. Staying healthy pays off in real cash and quality time on this Earth. I have learned some things along the way.
Tobacco use is the single most avoidable cause of disease, disability and death in the U.S. Alcohol use, lack of physical activity and poor dietary habits finish rounding that list as the four most modifiable health behaviors that are killing people daily. How can you stick your head in the sand, expect others to pick up your broken pieces and go on about your toxic, merry way? The ball is in your court.
1-Make a new plan with long and short-term goals. Say “I want to avoid eating sugar.” (Or whatever you choose) as a short-term goal and then set a long-term goal of weighing in at a good, healthy weight for you or improving your lab results.
2-Write these goals down and look at them often. Keep them in the forefront of your mind.
3-Make small changes to begin and allow them to build into larger changes. Start tracking every bite that goes into your mouth, become accountable and then gradually use that tracking to make broad, sweeping changes in your food intake. If the way that you are eating now got you unhealthy then you have to change to be healthy.
4-Let the small changes become natural before you make new ones. Build on each small change and rebuild your life.
5-Associate with people who support your health initiative and avoid those who don’t.
6-If you like technology then use it to stay informed and learn about health. Follow us here at David’s Way. We have over 800 articles and recipes here that are all devoted to good health, all free. Take advantage. Read David’s article “Fitness Triad” to discover the basic components of a good, healthy fitness program. Always consult your physician before beginning any weight loss or fitness program.
In this drive-thru, instant world that we live in, people have become accustomed to the dark. Many assume that they cannot change because they try if for an afternoon, crave cake and quit trying. They assume that it’s “easier” for some of us. I can assure you that it is not. I know all about baking a cake, eating it and making another one so that no one would know that I ate the first one. Having healthy habits is no easier for those who have them than they are for those who don’t. It takes time and a bit of suffering to keep practicing the healthy habits over and over until they are your default. In the process of change, there will be blood, sweat and tears…but…it’s worth it. No one has ever been more addicted to sweets than either me or David. We changed our lives. You can too. You have to make a decision and then work at it. In time, some aspects of your program will get a bit easier, but you will always have to exercise control. Begin by deciding today that you want to be healthy. The rest is history. Make it a sweet story of victory, hard fought and won with relish. You will love the results!